The Sleeper Bus
To get from Goa to Hampi, Karnataka, we took an overnight sleeper bus that left Panjim around 9:00pm and arrived in Hampi around 8:00am. We had no idea what to expect from the overnight bus, so what we got was quite a unique experience.
First of all, the sleeper buses are equipped with “beds.” Each “bed” is 6 feet long by 4 feet wide and they are arranged bunkbed style, with one lower berth and one upper berth. When we first walked on the bus and got a look around, I thought, “Great! This is going to awesome! We each get our own bed.” WRONG. They assign two people to every bed, so Maren and I had to share our 6×4 ft cell with each other and our carry-on bags (big backpacks went below the bus). It was very tight quarters to say the least. But it could have been worse: a guy we befriended at the bus station, Dev, was assigned to the bed below ours and he had to share it with a complete stranger.
As for actually sleeping on the “sleeper bus”, you can forget it. The bus is constantly bumping around, speeding around turns, slamming the breaks, and a bus attendant goes up and down the aisle about a dozen times counting people and making sure everyone is in their assigned bunk. You are constantly (and sometimes violently) being jostled around and bumping against your bed mate. And to top it all off, I could hear/feel the bus hit and run over three animals (dogs are my best guess, but I suppose it could have also been goats) during the night. The driver would tap the breaks and then I would hear a thud as the animal was hit, and sometimes feel the subsequent bump bump as it went under the tires. It was AWFUL.
Needless to say, we were thrilled but exhausted when we arrived in Hampi the next morning. Hopefully that will be my first and last sleeper bus experience.